Real 7Posted: December 9, 2009
Takehiko Inoue – Viz – 2010 – 9+ volumes
The themes of the series are highlighted once again by a new character, who sees a practice and a game with the Tigers and realizes that there isn’t anything handicapped about the characters, and that they go completely against what he thought he would become after he damaged his spinal chord in an accident. The new character doesn’t play a very big role, or even any basketball, but I liked him since it’s easy to forget what makes this series beyond great when you’re caught up in all the basketball stuff in this volume.
Tomomi also uses Kiyoharu and the Tigers as a kind of ruler for himself. He knows his life is a mess, and he needs to find the strength to just go on, to hold a job and do what he can, but it’s hard when bad things keep happening to him. I like Tomomi quite a bit, since he’s such a positive character that has the absolute worst luck in the world. When he gets down on himself, he’s definitely earned it.
Most of the storyline here is a Tigers practice and then a game with the Dreams. Kiyoharu takes the game particularly seriously, since he’s made a personal bet with the coach of the Dreams. There’s a lot of focus on Kiyoharu, but we also see a lot of the other characters and their strengths, too. We learn why one member above all on the Tigers is irreplacable, and for a silly reason, and there’s lots of drilling and the characters… well, just being regular basketball manga characters. It’s the new character that keeps the themes of the series in mind as the story progresses here.
The volume ends on a cliffhanger, and I imagine the basketball stuff will take a backseat to personal stuff again next volume. I’m guessing this will mean another appearance by Hisanobu, who was completely absent from this volume. I keep hoping that somehow Hisanobu will join the Tigers through Tomomi, because that would be awesome, though a pretty predictable, manga-ish thing to do, something that Real doesn’t make a habit of.
I still love this series, and even as far into Vagabond as I am, I think Real is probably the superior work. It’s close though, as both are very… quiet series. They don’t beat you over the head with what they’re trying to say, which strengthens their messages quite a bit. Both have powerful messages to deliver, but it’s hard not to like Real’s message a little bit more. Real is easily one of the best series I’ve started this year. Real and 20th Century Boys.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.